Skier dies in double black diamond area at Meadows

Jan. 31, 2011

Icy conditions in a gated-access, double black diamond area of Heather Canyon at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort contributed to the death of William James Cannard, 41, of Oregon City on Sunday, Jan. 30, at about 10:45 a.m.

The death was the second in just over a month at the resort. Ilya Sirosh, a 15-year-old from Portland, died of undetermined causes while snowboarding Dec. 22, 2010.

According to Hood River County Sheriff's Deputy, Gary Tiffany, Cannard was skiing alone on expert terrain, between Memorial Bowl and Twilight Bowl when he fell, sliding down a steep slope and striking a large tree head on. Cannard was not wearing a helmet.

Several nearby skiers, who witnessed portions of his fall and slide, came to his aid, attempting life-saving efforts until Meadows Ski Patrol members arrived in just under five minutes.

The Patrol continued CPR to the non-responsive Cannard as he was evacuated to the Meadows satellite parking lot located at the bottom of Heather Canyon. The evacuation team and Cannard were met by a Providence Hospital clinic physician, stationed at Meadows.

"This is a tragic situation," said Dave Tragethon, Meadows Marketing Director. "Right now, we mainly want to support the family and individuals involved in responding to the incident."

Tragethon reported that the area Cannard was skiing in is in a controlled access zone. It is considered expert level with extremely steep inclines and variable snow conditions within the 2,800 feet of elevation change. Reported conditions in the accident zone were icy with hard pack.

"A lot of things have to go wrong for something like this to occur," said Tragethon. "We have skiers making millions of safe, successful runs over a season. This is not a common thing."

According to Tragethon, following Cannard's fall, a witness skied to the bottom of Heather Canyon and reported Cannard's accident directly to a patrol member, who then radioed to a two-person patrol team in the area of the fall with specific location information.

The in-area patrol members quickly arrived on the scene and initiated CPR to the non-responsive Cannard. They then radioed for additional assistance to effect the evacuation. Cannard was carried down on a litter and continued to remain unresponsive in transit. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the lot.

Cannard's wife and two young children were present at the resort during the time of the accident. No additional information is available on the family at this time.

"Even though conditions on Sunday were not conducive to avalanche, this is an area in which we always recommend skiers carry beacons and probes, in the event of an emergency," Tragethon said. "Skiing with a buddy is also recommended."

Hood River County Sheriff's Deputy Marc Smith conducted the investigation on site. The official medical examiner's report listed Cannard's death as "accidental due to head trauma," according to Assistant Hood River County Medical Examiner, Craig Danner, P.A.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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